There are now several inexpensive handheld 3D scanners on the market, but they just aren’t as good as commercial units that have been available for some time.
One choice for handheld 3D scanners is Artec, a Luxembourg-based company that produces two commercial units, the “Spider” and the “Eva”.
They two units use an optical technique to capture 3D scans and require no targets applied to the scan subject, as some other pro scanners need. The optical technique is also eye-safe; lasers will not accidentally burn your eyes out. The devices fire a bright flash when scanning and capture up to 16 frames per second. One catch, however, is that optical scanning requires a colorful and static background, which is often easily arranged.
The Spider can capture scans with an incredible resolution of 30 microns, or 0.03mm, while the Eva goes as low as 100 microns (0.1mm). The difference in resolution is reflected in the pricing: USD$20,000 and USD$18,000 for the Spider and Eva, respectively.
Artec includes bundled software to interpret the captured scans and convert them into 3D models suitable for 3D printing in STL or OBJ format. Interestingly, the software also works with Kinect-based scanners, too. We were very impressed with the quality and speed of the captures which took only seconds to produce.